spiderweb flag // on fog flagpole porcelain vase of beasts // in rare inks huge cube of concrete // speckled egg inside. backwards map // for a maze of mirrors onion skin // atop onion skin time be // tween star // light pond of rocks // pond of rocks a pond of rocks // upon whose foundation a shat // ter rain falls and while you were // reading this catercorner, edge of // eye, peripheral we sneak // on rat feet on rat feet // scuttle scaffolds to build or // crash or crash we the loud // est shout millennia built // magician hands reckless // calculation papier-mâché masks // watercolor thunderstorm monster fearing // above the bed myth minted daily // god cowering about women // god? or just // men
Giving up is something I’ve been trying to learn the last couple of years. It doesn’t come naturally to me (or any American, probably), but it does take away some chronic stressors. From a business standpoint, the things I’ve given up on are all things that have had no return on the investment I’ve made trying to achieve them. I’m not saying that the good things in life must be defined in terms of capital, but I have limited means to invest, and so I’ve opted out of markets where I’ve been wasting my time.
I’ve given up on dating. My last relationship ended in February, and in that time I’ve gone on 3 dates, and have been canceled on or stood up probably 9 times. I haven’t even tried since June. I’m a 34 year-old single dad, which severely limits both the available time, and the number of women who might be interested in me that I am also interested in. For awhile I was going out by myself, but I became envious of all the couples I saw. For all the time, money, and effort I was expending, I was in the same spot. I keep reviewing past relationships in hindsight and second-guessing my decision-making. In my experience, there’s never a clear answer when it comes to love.
I threw a party a few weeks ago and invited about a dozen people that I consider friends or see on a regular basis. Most said they’d come, but only three showed up. A year ago I would have invited dozens of people, but in that time I’ve reduced my “friend list” from a couple hundred to about four dozen. I removed everyone who I hadn’t seen or heard from in nine months or more. I’ve also pretty much stopped using Facebook. I unfollowed everyone left on my friends list, and only use it for messenger or events. Drastic, yeah, but if people want my company, they know how to get in touch. The people I’m still in touch with, I was in touch with on the regular before. I have three folks I’d consider good friends. We talk weekly, and did so even before I started radio silence.
By now I was hoping to be married, with a fleet of kids, and living in a nice home that I own. To be settled down. Maybe have air conditioning. I’ve given up on those goals. I made a couple of poor decisions in 2007 that irrevocably changed my life. I’ve resigned myself to being a single dad; to not having any more kids; to renting for the rest of my life. The kids piece is the hardest one for me to reconcile myself with. As an only child, I always swore that I would have more than one child myself. Being a dad is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, but it’s only going to happen once.
Having given up on the above, I am better able to focus and invest my energies on being a dad to Abraham, and working hard at my job. After those items are squared away, I’m fairly monastic. Bike rides, walking my dog, maintaining the house I rent. Trying to simplify. If not happy, at least content; mindful. It is very hard.
I posit that the event horizon of “historically important” as a quality of information is the point at which the dataset disappears from living memory. The magnitude of certain events ensures that they will be recorded for posterity, but even then, the reasons behind that recording fade as the people who experienced it die. I might be using the wrong terms here. Maybe it’s not history I’m talking about, but anthropology. History is “these are the things that happened”; anthropology is “these are the ways people acted.”
Living as I do, in a society where many people are arguably obsessed with recording and archiving every detail of their lives, I wonder what methods future historians/anthropologists will use to sift wheat from chaff — especially when, as this post is evidence for, so much of what is shared and saved is chaff.
That’s long-term historicity. If history is still being recorded 5,000 years from now, this whole epoch will likely be reduced to a one-liner: “An age of technological growth so rapid it’s effects threatened to destroy civilization.”
Specific to this is the rise of the automated autobiography. People have been posting things online so long now that there are services to show us and let us share what we were doing to the day, 1, 3, 5, or 10 years ago. Is there a broader desire to consume these mini-histories, or do they just exist to serve our need to feel more important than we are? It doesn’t have to be either/or. My bet is that it’s an admixture of onanism, exhibitionism, and voyeurism.
Signal to noise depends on your ears.
Trash is treasure.